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BMW Dynamic Light Spot – Pinpointing Dangers in the Dark

The Night Vision set of technologies deployed on several BMW models has already managed to impress. Far from being one of those systems that you could very well do without (eg. a parking assistant), Night Vision is meant to clear up the night and offer drivers an advanced view of what is ahead. Because, regardless of the type of lights your car is equipped with, there's only so much they can do in the pitch black dark on empty roads. But Night Vision, as is, is old. Starting this week, BMW has something even more exciting. An addition to the Night Vision system that will not only detect dangers in the dark, but will do its best to make sure the driver spotted them as well. A system called Dynamic Light Spot, or DLS. WHAT IS IT
BMW describes the Dynamic Light Spot as being “targeted illumination.” Simply put, the system is used, as part of the Night Vision features, to light up the areas where the car detects a pedestrian, or some other type of obstacle, might be.

The decision to create such a system, perhaps the most advanced of its kind, was determined by a series of factors, including some studies into how and what the driver is able to see at night.

According to those studies, conventional low beam lights have, in theory, a field of vision that extends to at most 50 to 85 meters. But even if you can see that far at night, it doesn't mean that you are able to identify what you are seeing. The same studies have shown that you only begin to identify the objects you are approaching when you are 29 meters away from it. Far too close to be able to stop a vehicle that travels at 80 km/h in time.

With that in mind, BMW decided it's time to give the driver an extra edge. Meaning that now, an extra beam of light, or a spot,
as BMW calls it, will be pointed directly towards the object you are approaching, to give you a better idea of what they are.HOW IT WORKS
The DLS will work in conjunction with the thermal imaging camera of the Night Vision. After the camera detects the approaching objects (the camera can scan the road ahead with a viewing angle of 24 degrees; once detected, the camera generates a thermal image that shows warm objects – people or animals – as bright shapes), and by using specially designed headlights, the DLS will send a spot of light towards the detected object, at the same time giving the driver an idea of what he is approaching and allowing him to see, right on the tarmac before him, whether the car and the object are on a collision course.

In order for the system to work properly (read in due time) BMW says the system insures, thanks to the fact that it uses a thermal camera, a detection distance of 97 meters on average.

The DLS uses sensors to identify objects in the driver’s surroundings, dangers which it subsequently illuminates with a spot of light. An extra spot of light, marking the expected path of the car as it approaches the obstacle will be helping the driver make the necessary course adjustments. Unlike in other similar systems, the spot of light is projected onto the road, and not on the screen of the driving assistant.

According to BMW, the DLS will become a standard part of the Night Vision system. Currently, the system is in testing phase. The German manufacturer says that the DLS has proven to be very useful during these tests, as it was used to highlight and illuminate an object every hour. 


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